Sir Crisp Gascoyne was born at Chiswick in 1700. Originally a brewer by trade, with a brewhouse in Houndsditch, he married Margaret, the daughter and co-heir of the prominent and wealthy Dr. John Bamber of Bifrons, Co. Essex. He progressed rapidly through the ranks of the brewing trade and on into local government. Gascoyne was admitted a freeman of the Brewer's Company in 1741, taking on the clothing of the livery in 1744, was fined for the offices of steward and three grades of wardenship in 1746, and elected an assistant in 1745 and master of the company for 1746-7. Meanwhile he was also elected alderman of Vintry in 1745, thus paving the way to becoming mayor, as a Lord Mayor of London must be a freeman of the city, a liveryman, and an alderman at the time of his election and be nominated by liverymen of the city companies. In 1747-8 he became sheriff of London and Middlesex, in which capacity he distinguished himself by his efforts to promote relief for orphans of the city.
When he became Lord Mayor of London in 1752 Gascoyne was the first chief magistrate to occupy the present Mansion House, the building of which had commenced in 1739, and he was therefore involved in furnishing it (see S. Jeffrey, The Mansion House, London, 1993, p. 195). Within three weeks of the commencement of his mayoral term he was knighted upon the occasion of his presenting an address to the king. The present candlesticks were no doubt commissioned by Gascoyne shortly after his occupation of Mansion House and reflect his mature understanding of the rococo style as evidenced by his selections for the furnishings of the mayoral residence.
The combination of exotic Chinese figures and satyr-masks, Roman vase-caps, plinths, acanthus and wheatears, and the French picturesque elements of rococo scrolls, floral garlands, fruit and a bee, present a harmonious picture of the George II 'modern' style as illustrated in Thomas Chippendale's Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754, which relates closely to engravings issued by Pierre-Edme Babel (d. 1770), the French designer and modeller of Long Acre and author of A New Book of Ornament for Glasses, Tables, Chairs and Sconces with Trophies in the Chinese Way, 1752 and A New Book of China Ornaments, 1753 (see M. Snodin, Rococo Art and Design in Hogarth's England, 1984, p. 168, L22). The overall rococo appearance of the candlesticks would have been familliar to William Hogarth, whose Analysis of Beauty, 1753, described the contemporary St. Martin's Lane style, typified particularly in the serpentine form and flower wreathed branches of these candlesticks. Gascoyne's crest appears on the candlesticks together with a shall badge emblematic of Venus and a Medusa mask for Envy, while the fruit and floral festoons represent Peace and Plenty.
Phillips Garden purchased Paul de Lamerie's tools and patterns on the latter's death in 1751 and it is perhaps partly these which enabled him to produce objects of such high quality and to be in A.G. Grimwade's words 'an admirable exponent of the Rococo style' (A.G. Grimwade, London Goldsmiths, 1697-1837, Their Marks and Their Lives, London, 1982, p. 519). Indeed, M. Snodin, op. cit., p. 120, doubts whether he could have produced such high quality objects as the pair of beer jugs of 1754, sold Sotheby's London, April 1969, lot 192 and illustrated in H. Muller, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, European Silver, London, 1986, no. 13, without the assistance of Lamerie's casts and tools. A bill dated 4th January 1759 for the supply of an extensive dinner service by Phillips Garden to Sir Nathaniel Curzon for his neo-classical mansion, Kedleston Hall, further suggests that Phillips Garden was perhaps more a masterful retailer of pieces by the finest goldsmiths of the day, rather than an accomplished goldsmith himself. The magnificent Venus soup-tureens, one exhibited Christie's, London, Treasures of the North, 2000, no. 134, and the equally unusual flower-bordered dinner service, sold Christie's, London, 30 April 1996, lots 107-118, all appear on Garden's invoice but are in fact struck with a maker's mark of William Cripps.